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What's your most effective way to stay happy, healthy, and productive as high-stress entrepreneur?

I've found changing my nutrition and sleep patterns have been instrumental in staying productive throughout the week. Entrepreneurs often don't get much time to unplug / and our brain is our most valuable asset. What have you found thats important to keep up with your workload? Could be anything from nutrition, meditation, binge watching netflix every 16 days. How do you stay effective?

11 Replies

Priya Prakash
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Priya Prakash Entrepreneur • Advisor
Designer-Founder, D4SC-Changify
Great thread. I've just started experimenting with super foods. It definitely impacts your focus and energy.
Here are couple of links I found useful:

http://www.foursigmafoods.com/about [ have been having the Chaga and Cordyceps tea]
Rejuvenating and re-booting your working day from my former boss Marko - has some great nuggets
http://ahtisaari.typepad.com/moia/2014/06/ruska-leading-the-creative-self.html

Also - getting into a daily habit of exercise, switch off/meditation + eating healthy is helping me maintain a sense of focus. I think the key is finding your ritual/ productivity-happiness-focus habit
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/04/23/daily-rituals-mason-currey/

Bill Snapper
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Bill Snapper Entrepreneur
Owner Principal at SammyCO, LLC
  1. Set some time aside each day that's NOT WORK RELATED. If you enjoy running or cycling, make sure that you do it and don't make excuses why you're not doing it.
  2. Eat healthy and don't skip meals or hit snacking non-stop "because it's there". Most startups I've been at have well stocked kitchens. That doesn't mean you need to eat all day long.
  3. Most important, don't work with people that are more stress than they're worth. No matter what they bring to the table it's not worth your health having to deal with them all the time. It's like a marriage and you wouldn't want to be in an unhealthy one would you?
Taylor Dondich
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Taylor Dondich Entrepreneur
Vice President of Engineering at MaxCDN
This is a tough one. I have a very different lifestyle from many entrepreneurs here. I have 4 kids as a divorced single dad, (these kids are now on summer vacation), plus I have a day job in a different state that I travel to every other week (and requires a huge amount of my time every day). With this lifestyle, I'm lucky to get six hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Also my diet takes a hit because of the kids picky eating habits and of course the leftovers. ;)

My startup, Nihongo Master (www.nihongomaster.com), takes a great deal of time and I have to find ways to interweave it into my life. It gets pretty hectic. I am a sole founder (looking for marketing co-founders, if anyone is interested) who has bootstrapped this all myself. So I have to make sure it succeeds. The way I find myself being productive is making very small goals every day that I know will progress everything in my life forward. To-do lists are the savior for productivity for a hectic lifestyle.

The management of these lists do not have to be extensive either. Wunderlist is a great tool that provides cross-device syncing of lists. Site for this great product is at:https://www.wunderlist.com/en/ . I would take a look.

With these goals, I try to make them 1 to 2 hour max types of tasks. These could be as simple as "email potential affiliates" and "fix latest mobile browser bug". The smaller you make these tasks, the easier it will be to complete them before the inevitable context switch (having to do something else).

Of my list, I feel accomplished if I complete at least 70% of the items. No way can I achieve 100% as things simply always come up. But when you look at the completed items, you'll feel accomplished.

Dimitry Rotstein
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Dimitry Rotstein Entrepreneur
Head of R&D at SafeZone
Excellent question. I've been looking for an answer for years, and only recently found one that works for me, and, I believe, would work for most anyone.

The key is physical exercise. Not only does it strengthen your body and controls your weight, but it also relaxes you and does wonders for insomnia too, among other things.

The problem, of course, is that physical exercise requires certain amount of motivation, dedication, and time, but, unfortunately, all of these things are completely allocated to my start-up. Sure, I can find some free time, but I'd much rather spending it programming, not sweating. Anyway, I cannot devote myself to two conflicting tasks - it tares my psyche apart. So I say to myself: "I'll go to the gym in an hour... in two hours...", until it's too late, so I say "I'll go tomorrow", knowing full well that tomorrow will be the same story.

And then I found a gym, which pays me in cash for each exercise ($10/hour), on condition that I stick to the agreed upon schedule (say, a couple of hours each morning). I can change the schedule only one month in advance (and provide a good reason for changing it), and if I break the current schedule, I pay a$1000fine. Talk about motivation!

I've been doing that for 11 months now, I lost 20 pounds (and don't intend to stop there), my heart arrhythmia is history, my eyes and hands aren't sore anymore, I fall asleep like a baby, I feel 10 years younger overall, and my hairdresser swears she can't find my bald spot anymore (scientifically implausible, I know, but still)!
And to top all that, the exercise requires no mental effort to speak of, so I can still think about my start-up while exercising, and, as it turns out, it's much more effective than sitting in front of a computer. In fact, I got some of my best ideas this way.

By now you're probably wondering where you can find such a crazy gym. Actually, there are many of them - they are called the cleaning contractors.
Okay, yes, if you want to be technical about it, it's a part-time job cleaning stairs and offices, but for any practical purpose I care about, it is a gym that gives me a motivation like no gym ever could. So why won't you give it a try too?
Yoganathan V
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Yoganathan V Entrepreneur
CEO/Co-Founder at Top^ngle
I am 54 years old and I found remarkable and positive changes in the following areas of my life


1. Attention - My attention has become more relaxed and effective, 2. Balance - Better control of thoughts and emotions without much effort, 3. health - enjoying good health and an overall sense of well being , 4. Peace - distinctly different in quality that doesn't get disturbed so easily. 5. feel more energetic, creative, enthusiastic and joyful.


The reason- Came across a method of meditation known as Sahaja Yoga Meditation about 10 years ago. I have also been teaching this meditation in many schools, colleges, corporate and groups just to see the happiness it brings to people irrespective of who they are and what they believe in.


Sahaja Meditation is a simple, time-honored technique. It helps reduce stress and increase wellness. It brings better focus and helps people become more centered and better balanced. Anyone can do it. It's also free. Please check outhttp://www.freemeditation.com/ to know more about it. Should you require any information in this regard please feel free to reach me through [removed to protect privacy].

Anil Kumar Krishnashetty
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Senior Javascript Developer, UX, prototyping, Product Design
Use Calm.com
Gives you easy way to relax in short time as 2mins upto 20mins.
They have IOS app. Android coming soon.
Jonathan Le
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Jonathan Le Entrepreneur
Senior System Engineer
30-45 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training after 6 or so hours of burning my brain out on 2D screens. I approach the weekdays in "rounds," literally "round 1", "round 2", "round 3" and "round 4". After each round is something physical or something detached from the web, mobile, electronics and eating. Something physiologically and mentally cathartic not related to what I'm grinding away on.

+1 for Calm.com - it's pretty sweet Anil.
Elena Corchero
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Elena Corchero Entrepreneur
Consultant Wearables & Smart Materials - Top 3 Innovator of the Year 2015 @EveryWomanUK - Founder LostValues.com
+ Exercise + whole foods- alcohol - sweets= winner!
Darren Leva, M.B.S.
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Darren Leva, M.B.S. Entrepreneur
Founder and CEO, IntroMaps
My team is virtual, so I'm working alone a lot of the time, which can be stressful and sometimes drives me crazy since I'm an extravert. I find that when I take a short lunch, reading a short article (not on the computer) unrelated to my work helps give me a mental break during the day.

I also need more socialization (kinda like a dog), so I've been playing a team sport (water polo) at least once a week. It's really helped because when I'm in the water, I can't think about anything else that's going on with the company, I've got to be in the game. Same thing happens when I'm in yoga (Iyengar), a forced mental break, plus all that stress I carry around in my muscles gets released.
Keegan Beljanski
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Keegan Beljanski Entrepreneur • Advisor
Community and Marketing Intern at FounderDating
In pretty much any high stress time in my life I've always found that perception of that stress is usually correlative to the impact it makes on my life. It's very useful as long as the stress is motivating and gets me out of bed in the morning, but if it is overwhelming it can cause me to freeze up. I do a combination of meditation for 20-30 minutes to clear my head, and then take another five minutes doing an "emotional flood" where I focus on recalling as many positive, inspiring memories as I can until I hit a peak emotional state. That usually helps a great deal in getting me into a place where i can think though and process high pressure/high stress situations.
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